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World Cup Preview: Group E

The World Cup begins in exactly fourteen days, and we are officially excited. Starting June 11, there's nonstop historic action, all day: From 7:30 a.m. on, you have every excuse to pretty much take the whole summer off. We continue our World Cup coverage today with our preview of Group E. (See our Group F, Group G, and Group H previews.) So, here's all you need to know about Group E, which features Cameroon, Denmark, Japan, and the Netherlands.

GROUP E

FIFA Rankings
No. 4: Netherlands
No. 19: Cameroon
No. 36: Denmark
No. 45: Japan

Best World Cup Finish
Cameroon: Quarterfinals (1990).
Denmark: Quarterfinals (1998).
Japan: Second round (2002).
Netherlands: Runners-up (1974, 1978).

Best Player
Cameroon: Samuel Eto'o, striker.
Denmark: Christian Poulsen, midfielder.
Japan: Yashuhito Endo, midfielder.
Netherlands: Arjen Robben, midfielder.

Coach (and Sideline Garb)
Cameroon: Paul Le Guen. A brash Frenchman, notorious for not getting along with just about everyone he works with ... but still almost always winning. (Suit and tie.)
Denmark: Morten Olsen. Not the cuddly football player and flower spokesperson. He is considered "the most important figure in Danish soccer history," for what that's worth. (Suit, no tie.)
Japan: Takeshi Okada. Japan's coach when they lost all three games at the 1998 World Cup, he is only coaching now because the team's former coach suffered a stroke in December 2007. (Suit and tie.)
Netherlands: Bert van Marwijk. A middling player, he is a low-key, self-effacing manager who won't truly be embraced until he takes advantage of this extremely talented team. (Coat and scarf.)

Broadcaster-Worthy Anecdote
Cameroon: Africa's best chance (along with Ivory Coast) in their home continent Cup, thanks in large part to star Samuel Eto'o. They will have more fans than anyone else, save South Africa.
Denmark: From ESPN: "The team has been nicknamed 'the Olsen gang' — a reference to a series of Danish crime caper movies." That's fun.
Japan: The team is already under fire for not attacking enough, and they haven't even played a game yet.
Netherlands: A deep, powerful team provides the Dutch with their best chance to make some noise in years. That opener against Denmark could be dicey.

Schedule
June 14, 7:30 a.m.: Netherlands vs. Denmark
June 14, 10 a.m.: Cameroon vs. Japan
June 19, 7:30 a.m.: Netherlands vs. Japan
June 19, 2:30 p.m.: Cameroon vs. Denmark
June 24, 2:30 p.m.: Denmark vs. Japan
June 24, 2:30 p.m.: Netherlands vs. Cameroon

Prediction
1. Netherlands
2. Cameroon
3. Denmark
4. Japan

Previously:

World Cup Preview: Group F
World Cup Preview: Group G
World Cup Preview: Group H

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Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images, Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images , Shaun Botterill/Getty Images, Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images